How to Eat in a Town Fiesta

Born and raised in Manila, I never really had the chance to experience a real town fiesta. Do not pity me, our parish does have fiesta in honor of our patron saint. However, it is not as fun as how other places celebrate it. By “real” fiesta, I mean house hopping and getting stuffed with dishes every house has to offer.

I believe I mentioned in the previous blog something about learning from experience (late aircrafts, ugh), and from the town fiesta experience I had in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur just two weekends ago, here are some notes and tips on how to survive eating in a town fiesta.

  • Give your tummy an ample room for the (eating) activity. A cup of coffee or tea may already be enough in the morning. If you have a pretty large storage, a few slices of bread would be fine too. You know when they say “pinaghandaan ko to” (I prepared for this)? It’s the most appropriate for this.
  • Skip rice. Isn’t this already the rule of the thumb? Bet you have done this in buffets or all-you-can-eat restaurants. But if you really can’t say no to carbs, take less than a cup. Or mull over the space it will occupy in your stomach. Feeling guilty now?
  • Get food in small portions. Do not hoard ulam (viand). Sample each dish in small amounts and make papak (to eat with no rice) instead. If you like a dish, you can go back anyway. This is also a good way to not make flavors too empowering.

 Clockwise: Fried chicken wings, fish fingers and honey mustard dip, ginger prawns, Lechon, and Menudo.

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  • Get minimal portions of dessert. In the same household as plate number 1, desserts were individually served and equally distributed: a slice of chocolate cake, a square brownie, and a cup of buko salad. I would have wanted to say no to the chocolate cake and brownie, but I had to finish the dessert plate since it was served in front of me. I already felt a little bloated that time. I wonder how much starch and glucose that was!
  • Opt for greens, or dishes with vegetables. It was a blessing the second house had a make your own salad bar. I would have skipped the dressing, but the veggies needed a little more zest. Also, yes, that’s a lechon rib, because that’s a freaking lechon and rib in one.

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  •  Variety. Get at least one dish for every kind of meat. Get at least one dish for every kind of cooking or taste. From the choice of meat below, note that there are no two dishes of the same meat. Also, I kind of picked them out from the way they were cooked or seasoned. I had something dry (pork), something sweet and bony (chicken), and something smooth but savory (fish), so I wouldn’t get umay (feeling overloaded after consuming too much food or flavor) from similar taste.

Clockwise: Rubbed and deep fried pork spare ribs, roasted and glazed chicken, Fish Escabeche

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  • Skip carbonated drinks (and beer), if possible. I mean, with all the flavors exploding and inhabiting your mouth, you may rinse and burp it out a little with a glass of Coke. However, it is not necessary to gulp it down in every household. Refer to plate number 2, you think soda would go well with the salad, no? You can always request for water anyway.
  • Kill time before or after eating. Drop the little you’ve gained by walking from house to house, or engaging in a chit chat before delving into your food. If you are visiting distant relatives, it’s best to converse about family matters, and good old memories. If you’re dropping by homes of friends of friends, you can tell them about your stay and ask if there are places in the vicinity they suggest you to visit.
  • Do not be shy to ask for a to-go. If you are really really stuffed, you may ask to skip the meal and make pabalot instead. In the last house we visited, we were already too full to function (aka eat), so our Tita Tess asked for a to-go from her niece instead. The to-go landed the dining table the next day and we didn’t even have to say no to the host.
  • Be courteous and well-mannered. Not because it is a buffet sans the fine dining atmosphere means you have to let go of your table manners. Be mindful of your kubyertos, the area you take when eating, and the noises you make. Smile (even when your tummy’s already aching) to everyone you are being introduced or acquainted with. Be courteous when asking for extras like water, table napkins, etc. And lastly, return them hospitality of the hosts by greeting and thanking them warmly.

There, the town fiesta’s ways to a happy tummy.

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I’d be Lying if I Tell you I Didn’t Want This to Coincide With Your Birthday

There might be an ocean of uncertainties right ahead of you, but it definitely makes beautiful sunsets and successful sails.

Today marks an event you’d never imagine would involve your life immensely. But changes do not happen overnight. That’s a fact. Reason why when I got home at the eve of your birthday hours ago, you were the same old kid (little sister) to me the past years.

***

I’d like you to peep through my microscope. This is not as technical as the usual thing, for this shows you the depths of my heart and allows unimaginable magnification of how it is to be Twenty. This is the first time, and may even be the last, I’d allow you to look through it. You may have never seen it this way but maybe one day you will.

You did not actually care what I was doing when I was twenty. All you knew was that we were sharing the same closet we had for years, we were having special dinners every weekend (because you stayed miles away from us for school), and that I occupied (and fixed) your room whenever I visit or stay in my soul’s sanctuary. All of these seemed normal to you; except for the last one which you never really mentioned to me, but I knew seemed extremely stupid to you.

You knew the reasons why I opted to do so. You witnessed the whole course. From travels, to reunions and finally that moment where all came to an end. You lacked the words able to comfort me. Instead, you pulled a string from your heart and tied the pearls and stones that were my tears. Maybe, that made you really think how stupid I was.

You knew another reason. I could call this place paradise and even replace Burnham’s bust with mine. You knew how I fell in love with the people, their way of life, the culture and it’s every little detail that I wanted unharmed (untouched even) and considered my own. I knew you understood me for this that I got you to come with me to unknown yet beautiful places.

There’s one more reason I am just uncertain of whether you have deliberated true or untrue. I was twenty when I became the epitome of “escapism”. I always tuck away the city’s noises via a five-hour trip to the mountains. That was when I read too many books (other than my school readings), written fragmented prose and poetry, and cried only for myself.

You haven’t seen it that way. You haven’t read me between the sighs and laughs we had together. But I see you, dear little sister, a lot like the person I was two years before. Although you were more of a daredevil than I was – a lot stronger, a lot experienced (you’ve got far more credits under your belt) but yes, still a lot careless. Be wary kid, take these few pointers from me, but life will teach you more. You’ve only been twenty for a few hours and there’s certainly a lot for you out there. There might be an ocean of uncertainties right ahead of you, but it definitely makes beautiful sunsets and successful sails.

I am not usually this nostalgic nor this preachy. I normally talk to you in some weird language only the two of us can understand. It sounds funny, but we are somehow already serious that way.

That, and a HAPPY 20th BIRTHDAY, my little Pau.

Reasons Why You Should NOT Date Ted

  • Ted looks like an awkward teenager. She is skinny, has a number of weird tan lines, has messy hair, no boobs, a little too big ass for her stick-type body and a pair of big cheeks. She dresses up randomly according to her mood or whatever else she fancy.
  • Ted grammatically edits in her mind everything you say. She’s an ex-school paper writer, an ex-language and literature student, an ex-student of grammar OC professors. Once, she got frustrated at her 7.3/10 paper because her professor gave her a note: “good writing style, but grammar bogs down your grade.” She got frustrated and vowed to always pay attention to grammar.
  • Ted is in between a critic and writer. Thus expect a blog or a post about you after a date. She enjoys art criticism so much that she literally applies “criticism” in its general sense to everyday little things – and that would include you.
  • Ted has a bigger appetite than you do. Doesn’t seem like it, but she eats way too much than you do or you could ever imagine.
  • Ted will give you a codename. She wont call you Batman/Superman or any superhero for that matter. She gives weird names like epicfail book characters and t-shirt prints. Worse, she’ll write you an open letter with that weird name.
  • Ted uses a zillion languages. Seriously, she speaks Filipino and English and a little French. But she speaks illiterate/conyo/jejemon language. Example: ‘Let’s cmon ourselves over there nalang pfouhz.
  • Ted will stalk you. She’ll sniff through all the possible social networking sites you have and muse/laugh over your blogs, photos, vids and audio posts just because.
  • Ted laughs hysterically. It’s her natural, intoxicated or not. She’s nuts, she’s aware of it, and she’ll prove you it’s true.
  • Ted is not a pleaser. Of course her attention will be focused on you, but don’t expect her to be agreeing with you all the time. She won’t try to woo you or appear desirable just because she’s in a date with you.
  • Ted likes reading and writing history – her history that is. She’ll put in your name as entry in her calendar/journal/planner and it will be your day forever and that will make you epic. It will be up to you then whether to leave a beautiful or nasty portion in her autobiography.

As per Ted’s friends’ request:

  • Ted has friends who will not allow her to date just anybody. Thus, prepare to be flooded by friend requests on facebook. Plus Ted has a friend who does not have facebook and correspondingly wont add you, but is a karate blackbelt who will kick your ass if you break Ted’s heart.

*This is actually a recycled blog post from my Tumblr and Multiply Sites and was inspired by a friend’s online journal.